There’s a saying- new level, new devil. It’s true. I’m sorry, there’s no fast pass where you never encounter challenges ever again and you wake up with a streamlined business working five hours a week and raking in six figures.
Successful business owners KNOW that challenges await them, but they are confident in adapting to them. They don’t get thrown off by it. And they definitely don’t go into a growing business assuming that one day this will all just be so easy and they’ll never have problems with money, team members, clients, or pitching again. A business is like a living organism. It changes. You change. There’s no autopilot if you want to grow- and definitely no autopilot if you don’t want to work.
I don’t buy into the whole marketing of “everything just works perfectly once you hit 5k/10k/20k.” Sure… it can be easier. But if you don’t have the mindset, the business structure, or the habits? There will be adjustments. And I’m sorry, but more cash doesn’t magically make your business perfect.
If money was everything, we wouldn’t hear as many sad stories about celebrities who seemingly have it all but are totally depressed, in debt up to their ears, or are just unhappy despite having all the “stuff.” Implementing good boundaries now and bringing on the right clients for you, to me, is way more important than having a $10k month once where you were totally stressed out or hated the work because the client or project wasn’t right for you.
Is money important? YES. It’s great. It helps you do amazing things for yourself, your family, the world. But if you have mindset issues or client issues at $3k months and you don’t fix them? That stuff WILL come up again.
I’ve coached a few people at this point who had it in their mind that everything would be GREAT once they hit 10 or 20k. But then they hit snags. Worked more hours than they expected “But that FB ad from so and so said they only worked 10 hours a week! I had to work forty this week!” Had to make adjustments. Had to fire clients or switch focus areas.
And I was no different- I thought my business at $20k months would just be…easy. But I still hit challenges. I want you to know that it’s totally normal to do so…there’s nothing wrong with you if you’re still trying to get the swing of things.
Here are a couple of things that caught me off guard as my business grew:
Figuring out who to hire. Hiring other writers four different times and rediscovering, each time, that I hate outsourcing my work and that for me, it’s not worth it. Outcome: Doing all client work myself and becoming very stringent about who I work with. Then adding in great virtual assistants to help with other aspects of my business.
Accepting that a retainer client today doesn’t necessarily mean a retainer client next month UNLESS I pre-screen them and make sure it’s a perfect fit. Outcome: Always have an escape clause in the contract and do test projects to figure out whether I even want someone as a client. Too many freelancers start “counting” on that money before the contract is even signed or before money has changed hands. Big mistake.
Realizing that I could no longer continue typing at the pace I had been pre-six figures without getting carpal tunnel. Outcome: upping prices, implementing new strategies, and working on very similar types of content to make things streamlined. Limiting myself to a certain number of “typing” hours per week.
Not having adequate financial or tax advice. Having to pay thousands in taxes I didn’t need to- then paying another accountant thousands to fix it and to file my taxes properly. Outcome: Having to seek out solid retirement and financial planning resources and a great accountant. Not being scared when IRS letters inevitably came. Simply scanning and passing along to my accountant.
Discovering that if I didn’t implement good boundaries from day one, clients would abuse their access to me via email or the phone. Outcome: Clear boundaries, time limits for calls, and turnaround times listed in emails.
I hate to break it to you… but the whole idea that your business will be super easy, with limited hours, and no challenges… it’s BS. I don’t think it’s fair to tell freelancers that everything is perfect and magical with unicorns flying through the sky as you leap out of bed in the morning.
You will still have hard days. Self doubts. Unexpected challenges. Team members who don’t work out. Clients who end the contract. That stuff still happens. More money helps you buffer through and enjoy time off and give you more peace of mind… but money in and of itself is not the cure all for any other problems you already have in your business. If you have crappy clients now, crappy clients at $20k months will be MISERABLE. You will want to quit. You will feel like there’s something wrong with you.
So yes, it’s about making more money. But honestly, isn’t it about so much more, too? About steering the ship of your business in the direction you want it? About only taking on clients you love? About that money actually working for you?